MakerBot begins its mission to get a 3D printer in every school in America with MakerBot Academy

On display at 3D Printshow London 2013, that’s “Next Industrial Revolution” by Gilles Azzaro, a 3D printed soundwave of the portion of President Obama’s State of the Union Address where he discusses how 3D printing “has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.” Printing the speech is obviously relevant, but the speech led to more than an impressive art piece. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) was already around but it certainly picked up steam after the speech, and it recently went through a rebranding to become America Makes.

“America Makes is a vehicle for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute to raise our profile, reach a wider audience to include the hobbyist and the entrepreneur, and ultimately, provide a richer member experience,” stated Ralph Resnick, Founding Director of the Institute and NCDMM President and Executive, in his remarks to members. “America Makes sets the stage for us to realize our mission of reinvigorating the U.S. manufacturing industry and jobs market by serving a strong message. America Makes is our call to action. America Makes challenges the perception of manufacturing. America Makes is a far-reaching movement that goes beyond the walls of industry and into the homes of individuals. This is how we will become competitive. This is how we grow our nation’s economy and get ahead. This is how we lead. When America Makes, America Works!”

Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot spoke at the announcement, saying “The importance of encouraging American-made manufacturing is crucial to the economic success of our country. We see 3D printing as a large component of that success, allowing for faster and more productive cycles of innovation and iteration.” And they’re making good on their promises to support the “encouraging American-made manufacturing.” MakerBot and America Makes have partnered with Autodesk to get a MakerBot Replicator 2 in every schools in America with the launch of MakerBot Academy.

“We are thrilled that MakerBot and America Makes are joining a growing coalition of citizens working to give American students the ability to design and make almost anything,” said Tom Kalil, deputy director for Technology and Innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “As the President has said, we all need to think creatively about giving our young people the tools to be ‘the makers of things, and not just the consumers of things.’”

They’ve created a crowdfunding campaign with DonorsChoose.org to allow individuals and corporations to support the effort by choosing where they’d like their funds to go. Teachers can submit their school and then supporters can specify which school(s) their pledge goes to. For about $2800 a school gets a Replicator 2, three spools of PLA, and a year of MakerCare support. There doesn’t seem to be a discount for the schools but Bre did give enough money to get all of his hometown of Brooklyn covered. And Autodesk has already stepped up to cover 500 schools, so the project is off to a great start. But there are 100,000 public schools in America so there’s still a ways to go.

MakerBot also kicked off the Math Manipulatives Challenge to celebrate the launch of MakerBot Academy. 3D designers are invited to submit printable pieces and puzzles that help people learn math. They’re a highly requested item from teachers. There’s some filament in it for you if you win.